Point-of-care influenza testing impacts clinical decision, patient flow and length of stay in hospitalized adults
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionJournal of Infectious Diseases. 2022, 226, 97-108. 10.1093/infdis/jiaa690
Background Influenza is difficult to distinguish clinically from other acute respiratory infections. Rapid laboratory diagnosis can help initiate early effective antiviral treatment and isolation. Implementing a novel point-of-care test (POCT) for influenza in the emergency department (ED) could improve treatment and isolation strategies and reduce the length of stay (LOS). Methods In a prospective, controlled observational cohort study, we enrolled patients admitted due to acute respiratory illness to 2 public hospitals in Bergen, Norway, one using a rapid POCT for influenza (n = 400), the other (n = 167) using conventional rapid laboratory-based assay. Results Prevalence of influenza was similar in the 2 hospitals (154/400, 38% vs 38%, 63/167; P = .863). Most patients in both hospitals received antiviral (83% vs 81%; P = .703) and antibiotic treatment (72% vs 62%; P = .149). Isolation was more often initiated in ED in the hospital using POCT (91% vs 80%; P = .025). Diagnosis by POCT was associated with shorter hospital stay; old age, diabetes, cancer, and use of antibiotics, particularly broad-spectrum antibiotics, were associated with prolonged stay. Conclusions POCT implementation in ED resulted in improved targeted isolation and shorter LOS. Regardless of POCT use, most influenza patients received antivirals (>80%) and antibiotics (>69%).